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Panthers' Zednik says skate in neck 'felt like somebody stabbed me' @NHLdotcom

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -Florida Panthers forward Richard Zednik felt like he'd been stabbed in the neck when a teammate's skate blade sliced into his carotid artery.

"I was cut before on my face and I didn't feel it. This time it wasn't a cut, it was like a stab. I felt like somebody stabbed me," Zednik said Thursday at his first news conference since the injury Feb. 10. "It wasn't the pain, it was more like 'What's going to happen?"'

Zednik's neck was sliced during a game at Buffalo, when teammate Olli Jokinen was upended and his skate swung up. The blade cut into Zednik's carotid artery, but stopped short of his jugular vein.

"I knew exactly what happened, and I knew exactly what I had to do. I was on the ice. I knew it was pretty bad," Zednik said. "I was like, 'OK, this is it. I have to get up."'

He was discharged from Buffalo General Hospital a week ago and returned to South Florida a day later. Zednik said he wants to play again as soon as possible.

"I can't wait to get back and be with the guys and be again on the ice," he said.

It's doubtful Zednik will return this season. Coach Jacques Martin said he expected Zednik's recovery to take about eight weeks, and the Panthers are struggling to stay in contention for a playoff berth.

Still, the team was glad to see Zednik on the mend.

"It's nice to see Richard back and looking good," coach Jacques Martin said. "Knowing that he can fully recover is what I think is most important."

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